Environmentally Preferable Purchasing in the Medical Industry Reducing Waste, Hazards, and Cost At the Source
What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing? • EPP is the process of selecting products and services whose environmental impacts have been considered and found to be preferableto those of comparable alternatives.
Examples of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing? • Buy digital thermometers • Write contract proposals requiring suppliers to take back their packaging • Buy reusable SCD boots • Purchase recycled content non-chlorine bleached paper • Purchase a cleaning chemicals service instead of the chemicals themselves
What are the Benefits of EPP? • Potential cost savings • Healthier and safer environment for patients and employees • Positive publicity • Improved impact on the environment from hospital operations
Cost Savings • Reduce employee sick leave • Reduce spill clean-up costs and chemical disposal costs • Reduce liability costs • Reduce disposal costs
Reference: C. Galligan, SHP, using data from Mercury Elimination and Reduction Challenge (MERC), "Mercury in the Health Care Sector: The Cost of Alternative Products", November, 1996, pp 14-24
Improve employee and patient safety • Reduce risk from accidents, spills and leaks • Reduce exposure to chemical allergens
Improve Positive Publicity • Hospital is doing something good for the environment • EPP products are often of higher quality which increases patient comfort • H2E will be showcasing and publicizing positive changes and successes in hospitals
Steps to Implementing EPP • Amend hospital policies • Set up an EPP team • Decide on EPP goals • Set up an EPP program • Get started with a pilot project • Track progress • Share success • Continue and expand
Hospital Policy • A hospital policy to implement and support environmentally preferable purchasing is crucial to the success of the program • Hospital policy to look at total cost can also help support an EPP program
Setting up the EPP team • EPP team should be made up of hospital professionals working together to coordinate environmental purchasing with the environmental team and product review committees.
EPP team should have: • Representation from all relevant departments • Members with management responsibility • Members motivated to protect the environment • Support from top management
The EPP team’s initial tasks • Determine measurable goals for EPP program • Develop EPP policy • Examine resources available • Choose small pilot project to implement
Examples of measurable goals • Reduce purchase of mercury-containing products by 80% by next year. • Increase purchase of recyclables or reusables by 30% by next fiscal year. • Reduce packaging waste or total solid waste by 20% in 12 months.
Choosing pilot project • Using measurable goals, choose a project that is small, manageable, and has a specific time span • Develop an implementation timeline • Determine educational needs to implement project
Implementation • Work with product selection committee • Determine who is responsible for ensuring goals are met • Educate staff • Implement purchase
Barriers to EPP • Lack of administrative support • Lack of communication • No time to gather the needed information • Disposal costs not considered at time of purchase
Continual improvement • Determine if goal was met • Request feedback • Review process • Track progress
If goal was met: • Assess possibility of expansion • Determine next specific pilot project • Track and report on progress • Publicize and celebrate success
Publicize and celebrate success • Gain program support through publicity on the value of EPP efforts • Use data to create understandable environmental indicators • Label environmentally preferable products to educate staff and patients • Develop award program for employees making unique contributions
If EPP goal was not met: • Do Not Be Discouraged! • Request feedback from affected parties • Brainstorm on ways to move forward • Choose an interim goal or pilot • Move forward on new goal or project
What is the best source of information for setting up an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program in a hospital?
The EPP How-to Guide • The Guide is a web-based document with links to other resources • The EPP How-to Guide is an excellent tool to assist health care organizations in implementing an EPP program
H2E EPP How-to Guide covers what we discussed today: • Setting up an EPP team • Deciding on EPP goals • Setting up the EPP program details • Getting started with a pilot project • Tracking progress • Sharing successes • Continuing and expanding
How-to guide website provides links to: • Other EPP websites • Environmental Claims certifying organizations • RFP specifications used by other hospitals • Websites listing alternative products
The Website Hospitals for a Healthy Environment’s EPP "How To Guide” http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Wetlands/7756/EPP1.htm